Pretty warm temps so far this March, which is making for fairly comfortable fishing on the Wyoming side of the border. Surface action has been good in specific slow water pieces on midge and Capnia imitations from around 9am until a little after 4pm. The key to success is finding those slow water areas offering surface action. Some will, but some won’t if you find an active pool, stay on it. The best have been in slow current side channels, eddies, and riffle current margins.
Nymph rigs are also working well in slow current side channels, eddies, and riffle current margins. Fish your riggings somewhat shallow – in the three to four foot range – as trout are visibly suspended high in the water column most days. It is easy to spook fish in these slow water targets with a tradition indicator. Instead, go with an NZ wool indicator, a dry dropper rig, or a coiled sighter/colored fly line with no suspension device. Doing so will allow you to fish even higher in the water column (if it’s warranted).
Streamer fishing has picked up in a noticeable since water temps have warmed over the past week and a half. Small-ish patterns are outperforming larger ones in a big way. As with dry flies and nymph rigs, target slower water types. Slow to moderate retrieves with floating lines or INT sinking tips. Slow retrieval of #10 to #12 attractor nymphs is proving effective.
Dry flies – Micro Peanuts, Furimsky BDEs, Booty’s DL Cripple, Parachute Extended Body BWOs, Booty’s BWO Emerger, Tilt-Wing Midge, Parachute Midge, and CDC Midge Emerger.
Nymphs – Brackett’s LBS, Copper Johns in black or red, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, Jujubee Midges, Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa, and Miracle Midges.
Streamers – Rickards’ Seal Bugger, Fruit Rollups, Sculpzillas, Hothead Buggers, Slump Busters, and Chez’s Clump Dubbing Leech.
Flows from Palisades Reservoir are at approximately 3,650cfs. Warm area temps are leading to increased surface feeding on the South Fork, particularly on the upper reach in Swan Valley. The lower river from Wolf Eddy down to Lorenzo is a close second. The best action with midge and Capnia imitations has been from approximately 11:30am until dusk. It can be gappy with intense feeding for a half hour followed by short dead periods of 10 minutes or so. If the surface is your focus, stick with it through the slow periods, as the fish will be up after a quick breather. Target riffle pools, flats and submerged structure with slow to moderate currents.
Nymphing has been consistent throughout the day with the prime time being from around 11am until 4pm or so. Chironomid imitations are working best, although there is noticeably good action on larger stonefly imitations that, at times, can be just as good as midge patterns. Go with leader lengths in the four to six foot range and target riffles, eddies, seams, and submerged structure along banks.
Streamers fishing hasn’t changed much over the past couple weeks. It is still descent to good with small to moderately sized streamers fished in back channel waters as well as in riffle pools and along seams. Go with floating or hover lines or sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range. Slow to moderate retrieves with a consistent cadence is working best.
Dry flies – Parachute Adams, Booty’s BWO Emerger, Parachute Extended Body BWOs, Furimsky BDEs, Parachute Midges, CDC Midge Emergers, and Chez’s Krystal Wing Midge Emerger.
Nymphs – Pat’s Rubber Leg, Nymph Formerly Known As Prince, Copper Johns in red, black, or olive, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, and Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa.
Streamers – Chicklets, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Booty Call Minnows, Pine Squirrel Zonkers, and Krystal Zonkers.